With a strong non-conference start so far this year, the Ivy League looks poised to send three teams to the NCAA tournament — unusual for the conference. Along with an automatic bid reserved for the winner of the regular season, the Ivy League traditionally sends either one or two teams to the tournament through at-large bids, depending on the strength of the teams and conference. Victories over perennial powerhouses Indiana and UC Santa Barbara — by Darmtouh and Columbia, respectively — have already made the Ivy League a major force in Division I this year.
Strong starts by Penn and Dartmouth have put those two schools in good position to capture at-large bids if neither of them wins the Ivy League regular season. The Quakers have not given up a goal yet, while scoring 11, on the way to a 4-0-2 start. Dartmouth, on the other hand, lost 2-1 to Notre Dame yet gained credibility by defeating Indiana, a team that has won the national championship four times since 1998.
Assuming that one of these two teams wins the Ivy League — by no means a guarantee — the third bid to the tournament is up for grabs. Yale, Columbia, Harvard and Brown all occupy the middle of the standings and are all separated by less than one win. Columbia has the advantage of having toppled UC Santa Barbara, who had been ranked No. 6 at one point, by a score of 3-2.